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Passionate community member, volunteer hoping for Ward 2 seat

'We need to let the people know what we do behind closed doors,' said Harold Dougall, who hopes to improve communication, infrastructure, and community safety
Harold Dougall, 74, is a long-standing member of the city’s accessibility advisory committee. He hopes to bring transparency, better communication, and improved infrastructure and community safety to Orillia if elected as a Ward 2 councillor.

OrilliaMatters will profile all the candidates seeking election in the Oct. 24 municipal election.

Life-long Orillia resident, volunteer, and active community member Harold Dougall is hoping to secure a Ward 2 council seat in the upcoming municipal election.

Dougall, 74, has lived in Orillia since he was 11 years old. 

He has spent the past 17 years delivering Orillia Today newspapers, and has previously worked at the Sundial and at Zehrs as a custodian.

He is also an active volunteer in the community, with experience at the Mariposa Folk Festival and selling buttons for the Orillia Scottish Festival.

Dougall is a former resident of the now-closed Huronia Regional Centre, which was subject to a class-action lawsuit due to abuses from staff.

He was a resident between ages 11 and 18, and said he is willing to speak out on behalf of residents who endured abuse.

“The kids don’t know what they’re going into,” he said of HRC. “People need to know what they put us through.”

Aside from his run for council in 2018, Dougall’s previous political experience includes his role on the city’s accessibility advisory committee, where he has served for more than six years.

One of the ways he hopes to make Orillia more accessible is by encouraging businesses to include button-operated doors and accessibility ramps for people in wheelchairs.

If elected, Dougall’s primary hope as a councillor is to foster healthy communication between the city and its residents.

He says he has a strong desire to help his constituents find solutions to their problems, and to bring transparency to the council table.

“Better cooperation – let the people know who we are and what we can help them to do,” he said. “We need to let the people know what we do behind closed doors.”

One of the key issues Dougall sees in the city is unkempt infrastructure, be it on downtown sidewalks or in the form of roads in poor condition, such as Barrie Road or Laclie Street, he noted.

“They let this town go out of place – we need to bring it back,” he said.

Dougall said he also hopes to bring traffic calming measures, including speed bumps and lower speed limits, to some of Orillia’s streets as a means of bolstering community safety.

In that light, he vows to work closely with the OPP to clamp down harder on drinking and driving.

“We need to keep (the community) safe – especially from drinking,” he said.

Another way Dougall hopes to improve Orillia is by supporting existing small businesses and encouraging more to open up shop in the city.

“We’re here to help the people – restaurants, especially small business,” he said. “We need them here – more work, more jobs.”

Ralph Cipolla and Rob Kloostra are the current Ward 2 councillors. Cipolla, Dougall, Ian Gordon, Alan Bayne, Luke Leatherdale, Brian Hare, Gilles Depratto, Dael Morris, and Robert Winacott are the official candidates for Ward 2. Kloostra has opted to run as a candidate in Ward 1.

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Greg McGrath-Goudie

About the Author: Greg McGrath-Goudie

Greg has been with Village Media since 2021, where he has worked as an LJI reporter for CollingwoodToday, and now as a city hall/general assignment reporter for OrilliaMatters
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